By Dirisu Yakubu, Abuja
The Cross River State government, Monday got an Outline Business Case certificate, OBC for the commencement of the construction of its deep seaport.
Governor Ben Ayade who came for the OBC at the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Abuja, told reporters that the certification would propel his administration to deliver on the project as quickly as possible, in line with his re-election campaign promise.
He said, “The certificate is an Outline Business Case. It shows that there is a full densification commitment of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Transportation to say yes we have come to recognise and accept that Cross River state government should go ahead with the Full Business Case towards the construction of a deep seaport.
“And the emphasis on the deep seaport is agro-industrial, not exclusively, but to show that the core target is to do an agro-industrial transformation of Nigeria. It will be the major leading port in that respect but will have other industrial parks.” According to him the issuance of the OBC by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration through its Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission was the fastest ever recorded in Nigeria.
On the pace of work thus far, the governor said, “work started there more than six months ago when we got the Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA approval which allowed us the legal right to get access to the ocean. “But right now with this OBC certificate, we are going to be dealing directly with the concessionaires towards arriving at the specific location, data, and commencement of actual work plans. But that can only come with the FBC.”
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said with the certification, the state was ready to harness its resource endowment for the good of its people and Nigerians at large. “What they’ve got right now is the OBC. We will take the next move to verify all the necessary instruments that we need and then proceed back to the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission for the FBC before we go to cabinet for approval.
“But the most important thing is that we are speeding it up so as to enable those states who want to invest in seaports and others to go ahead and do so.”
He promised on behalf of the federal government to assist the state in realizing its objective on the seaport construction.“We will sit down with the Cross River State government and their major partners and see how much the Nigerian Port Authority, NPA, would want to invest,” he added.